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NCHN Healthcare News Digest

Issue #10 | Monday, November 1, 2010

+ NCHN Featured Network: North Country Health Consortium, Inc. (NH)

Mission: North Country Health Consortium leads innovative collaboration to improve the health status of the region.

History and Purpose
The North Country Health Consortium (NCHC) is a rural health network, created in 1997, as a vehicle for addressing common issues through collaboration among health and human service providers serving Northern New Hampshire. NCHC is engaged in activities for:

  • solving common problems and facilitating regional solutions
  • creating and facilitating services and programs to improve population health status
  • health professional training, continuing education and management services to encourage sustainability of the health care infrastructure
  • increasing capacity for local public health essential services
  • increasing access to health care for underserved and uninsured residents of Northern New Hampshire

Programs and Services

  • Workforce Development, Education and Training
  • Community Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)
  • Molar Express
  • Community and Public Health
  • Capacity Building Services

>> Get more information, including descriptions of the Programs and Services... (pdf)

Contact Information:
Martha McLeod, MOE, RD, LD, Executive Director
Ph: 608-837-2519

>> View all network sharing forms...

About NCHN Featured Network (NEW)
One of the greatest values NCHN can bring to its members is information about what networks throughout the country are doing to meet the needs of their communities. To share information about your network, you can submit your paper to using the following template: NCHN Sharing Form (doc). One network will be featured every week. We look forward to sharing more networks as they come in. View all network sharing forms...

+ From the Medicare Learning Network: “Rural Health Clinic” Publication Revised

A revised Medicare Learning Network® publication titled “Rural Health Clinic” is now available in downloadable format at (pdf). This fact sheet provides information about Rural Health Clinic (RHC) services, Medicare certification as a RHC, RHC visits, RHC payments, cost reports, and annual reconciliation.

>> Download the Rural Health Clinic publication... (pdf) (Source: CMS Weekly Reading Materials, October 29, 2010)

+ HHS Announces New Competitive “Early Innovator” Grants for States that Lead the Race to Develop IT Systems for State Exchanges

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced competitive funding opportunities for States to design and implement the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate Health Insurance Exchanges.  The Exchanges represent new competitive insurance marketplaces that will help Americans and small businesses purchase affordable private health insurance starting in 2014 and a strong IT infrastructure will be critical to their success.  For the first time, funding will be directed to States that are willing and able to lead the race to develop IT systems.  These systems can then be used as models by all States in their efforts to establish Exchanges.

Starting in 2014, Exchanges will help individuals and small employers shop for, select, and enroll in high-quality, affordable private health plans that fit their individual needs at competitive prices.  By providing a place for one-stop shopping, Exchanges will make purchasing health insurance easier and more understandable.  Similar to any consumer-based industry such as the airline or banking industries, sophisticated, consumer-friendly IT infrastructure will be critical to the success of the Exchanges.  Although Exchanges are not scheduled to launch until 2014, work is already underway to design and implement them across the country.  As States prepare, they have requested early funding assistance to develop the right IT, particularly with respect to eligibility and enrollment systems. 

>> Continue reading... (Source: > ASPA > Newsroom > News Releases, October 29, 2010)

+ Surescripts expands e-prescribing network to clinical data

by Mary Mosquera

Surescripts announced yesterday it would expand its electronic prescribing network to offer health information exchange services for all types of clinical information, including the basic health record sharing envisioned under the federal Nationwide Health Information-Direct project.

In doing so, the e-prescribing company has positioned itself to offer a solution to “the last mile” problem of connectivity with small practices, according to a health IT expert.

NHIN Direct, a streamlined version of standards being developed for nationwide health information exchange, is aimed at equipping small health care providers with tools for qualifying for the first stage of the meaningful use incentive plan, which requires providers to be capable of exchanging basic clinical summary data securely.

>> Continue reading... (Source: Government HEALTHIT, October 26, 2010)

+ Wisconsin Network Forming to Implement Electronic Network for Medical Records

When the Wisconsin Department of Health Services asked the state’s health care providers in 2009 who should run a stimulus-funded electronic network for medical records – one that would allow providers to safely share patient files with each other – they said, “Not the state.”

They’re getting their wish. The department announced last week that a new nonprofit with broad private sector representation would administer the network. The nonprofit, called the Wisconsin State Health Information Network, is being founded by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, which represents hospitals; the Wisconsin Medical Society, which represents doctors; the Wisconsin Collaborative for Health Care Quality, an alliance of health care providers; and the Wisconsin Health Information Organization, a nonprofit that maintains a database of insurance claims in the state which is used by doctors and insurance companies.

>> Continue reading... (Source: Milwaukee newsbuzz > Our Stories > Newsbuzz Shorts, November 1, 2010)

Similar Stories

New York eHealth Collaborative Submits Plan to ONC for Developing Statewide EHR Network (Source: iHealthBeat, October 27, 2010)

Collaboration Yields Broadband for North Carolina Telehealth Network ( > News Releases, October 27, 2010)

Opinion: Connecting EMR systems needs to be an industry priority (Source: ZDNet Healthcare, bu Dana Blankenhorn, October 29, 2010)

+ Massachusetts: Healthy lifestyles the focus of annual legislative breakfast

from South Coast TODAY, by Anika Clark

Diabetes and smoking rates don't always paint SouthCoast as the portrait of wellness.

But instead of fretting figures, attendees at an annual breakfast in Westport on Friday hailed those who are working to make this picture brighter.

"Sure there are things that need to be fixed. We all recognize that. But there's a lot of good stuff going on too," said Marcia Picard, Fall River school wellness coordinator "We need to recognize that. We need to celebrate that."

And celebrate they did at Friday's 11th annual Legislative Breakfast at White's of Westport. Entitled "Walking the Walk," the event was co-sponsored by Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthier Community and Greater New Bedford Community, Opportunity, Access, Safety and Trust, or COAST.

The organizations are two of Massachusetts' 27 community health network areas — coalitions of public, private and nonprofit entities united in the pursuit of healthiness. Encompassing a triangle from Swansea to Wareham down to Westport, the two community health networks have been the legs behind initiatives ranging from domestic violence-related trainings and a push for postpartum depression screenings to supporting community gardens.

>> Continue reading... (Source: > News, November 1, 2010)

+ HIT Policy Committee Workgroup Call For Comments

Please post comments by Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Governance Workgroup (Workgroup) is developing recommendations on governance mechanisms for the nationwide health information network. The Workgroup identified overarching objectives, key principles, and core functions for governance in its Preliminary Report and Recommendations on the Scope of Governance presented to the HIT Policy Committee on October 20. The Workgroup is now preparing final recommendations on how governance functions should be implemented and by whom. As a first step, the Workgroup would like to identify existing mechanisms that might be appropriate, with or without modifications, and with or without some added coordination; and whether new mechanisms are needed, and if so, which. The Workgroup would like public input on these issues and has created a table listing the core functions and questions to frame the input.

>> Make comments... (Source: ONC Health IT, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Weekly Digest Bulletin, October 31, 2010)

+ From NRHA: Come down to the desert for NRHA’s Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference

NRHA welcomes everyone to the 16th annual Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference Dec. 1-3 in Tucson, Arizona.

Come together for the nation’s only conference focusing on improving health for under-represented rural populations to learn about:

  • The impact of health reform
  • Successful border and tribal health initiatives
  • Diabetes and behavioral health solutions
  • Ethical and environmental factors that contribute to rural health

Visit to register by Nov. 1 to save.
Before the conference begins, join NRHA on a site visit to Nogales, Ariz., to gain perspective and insight into the issues pervasive in the region and enjoy local cuisine at the Historical Society Museum. Transportation is provided. Tickets are $30 and limited to the first 50 online registrants. Click here to register (registration is within the same link as the conference).

Turn your trip to Tucson into a vacation with sunny days and cool nights in the Sonoran Desert. Southern Arizona has some of the clearest skies in the U.S. - about 350 nights of viewing a year. Tour world-renowned observatories and learn why this area is called the astronomy capital of the world. Stay for the weekend and take in an 1880s Southwest version of the traditional Nutcracker Ballet, featuring dancing chile peppers, coyotes, cavalry and rattlesnakes, and participate in La Fiesta de Tumacacorie, celebrating the cultural continuity of the historic Upper Santa Cruz River Valley. Visit to learn more.

Note: NRHA booked this event prior to the passage of the Arizona immigration law (SB 1070). NRHA anticipates the law may have unintended consequences on multiracial and multicultural people seeking needed care, creating a greater burden on Arizona’s health care delivery systems. The conference will include activities designed to increase awareness and explore strategies to address the law’s impact on public health.

>> Register online... (NRHA email, October 20, 2010)

+ 2008 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample Released

AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) released the 2008 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS).  The 2008 NEDS contains the largest all-payer emergency department database in the United States.  The NEDS was created to enable analyses of emergency department utilization patterns and support public health professionals, administrators, policymakers, and clinicians in their understanding and decision-making regarding this critical source of health care.  The NEDS has many research applications as it contains information on hospital characteristics, patient characteristics, geographic region and the nature of the emergency visits (e.g., common reasons , including injuries).  The database includes information on all visits to the emergency department regardless of payer—including people covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and the uninsured. 

>> Statistics from the NEDS are available on HCUPnet.  More information about the NEDS can be found on the HCUP-US Web site.  The 2008 NEDS can be purchased through the HCUP Central Distributor.

(Source: AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Issue #299, October 29, 2010)

+ EHR Incentive Program: Certified Health IT Product List

Providers must use certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in order to earn incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.  How can you be sure which EHR technology has been certified?

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has published the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL), a comprehensive listing of Complete EHRs and EHR Modules that have been tested and certified under the Temporary Certification Program.  Each Complete EHR and EHR Module included in the CHPL has been tested and certified by an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB), and reported to ONC by an ONC-ATCB, with reports validated by ONC. Only those EHR technologies appearing on the ONC-CHPL may be granted the reporting number that will be accepted by CMS for purposes of attestation under the EHR Incentive Programs.

The listing will be updated as additional products are certified by ONC-ATCBs and reported to ONC for validation.  

>> Get more information about this product listing...
>> Get more information on Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs...

(Source: CMS Weekly Reading Materials, October 29, 2010)

+ Registration for ONC Personal Health Records Roundtable Now Open

Online registration is now open for the roundtable on “Personal Health Records – Understanding the Evolving Landscape.”  This free day-long public roundtable, hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), will be held on Friday, December 3rd at the FTC Conference Center in Washington DC (601 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001).

>> Register to attend in person...
>> View the webcast... (available Friday, Dec. 3, 2010)

(Source: CMS Weekly Reading Materials, October 29, 2010)

+ Emotional Automation: Bonding with Technology to Improve Health

from Joseph Kvedar, MD, Director, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare

During a keynote panel discussion at the Connected Health Symposium last week, I proposed a new idea that challenges the need for face-to-face doctor patient interactions to deliver quality care. Here’s a synopsis of my remarks:

As we take stock of the opportunities the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provides, we can look to the experience in Massachusetts for some suggestion of how things may turn out.  Recall Santayana’s admonition:  Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  In 2006, Massachusetts passed universal healthcare, leading the nation with a bold vision for universal access.  By early 2008, local headlines noted that there are not enough primary care doctors to care for our citizens and later that year, the same news outlets were headlining how the new system was costing more than estimated, resulting in immense strain on the state budget.  As we look at the situation in the U.S., there is nothing to suggest that these same roadblocks will not present themselves in due time.

>> Continue reading... (Source: The cHealth Blog > Musings on Connected Health, October 26, 2010)

+ CMS Publishes Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective

The Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective is a health literacy resource from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). As shown below, this 11-part Toolkit provides a detailed and comprehensive set of tools to help you make written material in printed formats easier for people to read, understand, and use.

  • Toolkit Part 1:   About this Toolkit and how it can help you
  • Toolkit Part 2:   Using a reader-centered approach to develop and test written material
  • Toolkit Part 3:   Summary List of the "Toolkit Guidelines for Writing and Design"
  • Toolkit Part 4:   Understanding and using the "Toolkit Guidelines for Writing"
  • Toolkit Part 5:   Understanding and using the "Toolkit Guidelines for Graphic Design"
  • Toolkit Part 6:   How to collect and use feedback from readers
  • Toolkit Part 7:   Using readability formulas: A cautionary note
  • Toolkit Part 8:   Will your written material be on a website?
  • Toolkit Part 9:   Things to know if your written material is for older adults
  • Toolkit Part 10: "Before and after" example: Using this Toolkit's guidelines to revise a brochure
  • Toolkit Part 11: Understanding and using the "Toolkit Guidelines for Culturally Appropriate Translation"

>> Download the toolkit... (Source: CMS email, October 29, 2010)